This month’s cover art is “The Mechanic Magmin” by Kyle Anderson
Flash Fiction: “This is the Story That Devours Itself” by Michelle Muenzler
This is not a regular story. This is a hungry story, built of words with tongues of glass and cracked marbles for eyes. You think you know this story, you think you’ve heard it before… but you haven’t.
Michelle Muenzler also known at local conventions as “The Cookie Lady,” writes fiction both dark and strange to counterbalance the sweetness of her baking. Her fiction and poetry have been published in magazines such as Daily Science Fiction, Crossed Genres, and Electric Velocipede, and she takes immense joy in crinkling words like little foil puppets. Find her online via facebook.com/michelle.muenzler.
Main Story: “Guns of the Wastes” by Django Wexler
The six days it took the mail cutter to traverse the pass at Rusthead were the longest of Pahlu Venati’s life. The slope and the rocky ground cut the landship’s speed to a crawl, her eight fat tires bouncing and shuddering in their pods at the ends of her long, articulated legs. The ceaseless chug of the engine was his constant companion, faster than a heartbeat, broken every so often by the whistling hiss of venting steam.
Vegetation petered out as they gained altitude, the scrub woods along the side of the road turning to weedy grass, which became patchy and finally disappeared altogether. At night, shielding his eyes from the ship’s lanterns, he could see a great wheel of stars marching overhead, far outshining the handful he’d been able to make out from his window at the Academy. They seemed distant and cold, and he would have gladly traded the view for the smoky, overcast sky of home.
On the fourth day, they began descending again, the cutter’s engines straining to keep her from careening wildly down the rock-strewn slope. Pahlu was surprised to see grass on this side, too, and even a few stunted trees; this was the edge of the Waste, after all. But of course it was only the edge, and few of the Enemy ever made it as far as the passes.
Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not writing, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts. He recently released the fantasy novel The Price of Valor.
About the Narrators:
Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements. She also hosts this podcast…
Eric Luke is the screenwriter of the Joe Dante film Explorers, which is currently in development as a remake, the comic books Ghost and Wonder Woman, and wrote and directed the Not Quite Human films for Disney TV. His current project Interference, a meta-horror audiobook about an audiobook… that kills, is available free on iTunes and at Quillhammer.com.